FanDuel NBA DFS Picks – January 18th

Last night wasn’t all bad. Joel Embiid was his usual monstrous self (if you threw caution to the wind and used him despite a questionable tag), Pascal Siakam was rock solid and Paul George was fantastic.

The problem arose when Kyle Lowry and C.J. Miles were randomly listed as active just before lineup lock. I probably would have gotten off Delon Wright and Norman Powell at the very least, but hopefully you still found a way to use my NBA DFS picks and profit.

Either way, Friday is here and it brings a fun seven-game daily fantasy basketball slate to us. Anthony Davis leads the way as the top stud to consider paying up for, but with no other James Harden-esque play in view, it’s worth wondering if taking a more balanced approach might be the better NBA DFS strategy.

Let’s see what some of my favorite daily fantasy basketball picks are for tonight and the team they make for FanDuel tournaments:

PG: Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors ($10.4k)

This isn’t the slate to pay down at point guard. It’s not necessarily because the top studs are must-own options (although they probably are), but the intermediate and value options at this position are positively ghastly.

Curry is always worth a look, but tonight he faces a weak Clippers defense in one of the most explosive NBA DFS settings of this entire slate. He’s wrecked them so many times before and probably will again tonight. He’s a locked in core play for me.

PG: Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers ($9.8k)

I wish Thrillard were a bit cheaper and he’s been a bit nicked up, but he’s in a killer spot at home against the Pelicans. This is another great game to target for NBA DFS purposes and he’s near the top of my list due to that and the fact that point guard is very weak tonight.

Kyrie Irving ($9.6k) could be a fun pivot, but a matchup with Memphis is far from ideal. That might be a contrarian play worth considering, but pairing Lillard and Curry is the preferred route for me.

If you need value, Jeff Teague, Derrick White and D.J. Augustin are all worth a cursory glance, but I really don’t think this is the slate to fade the top points guards.

SG: Lou Williams – Los Angeles Clippers ($6.8k)

There’s a pretty good chance this Warriors vs. Clippers game is going to be lit, so I will want to get a few shares in this one. Sweet Lou is likely to be a big part of the fun, as he’s always a threat to top 40 fantasy points if he gets hot.

Williams is arguably the top shooting guard value on this entire slate, but if you want to pay up I have my eye on Jrue Holiday. I don’t know if there is a more reliable 40+ fantasy point play in that price range.

SG: Kyle Korver – Utah Jazz ($4.2k)

I am hoping a little more value opens up tonight, as Korver is far from a reliable DFS option. Still, injuries have really hurt Utah and they’ve leaned on Korver’s shooting quite a bit.

Korver is logging 25-30 minutes on a nightly basis and comes in hot with 16+ actual points scored in each of his last three games. He also gets a little revenge against the Cavs, so hopefully he fires away in this one.

This game could also get out of hand in a hurry, so consider Grayson Allen as a full punt here. If Utah is up big, he could push for 20+ minutes and the matchup is obviously gold.

SF: Nikola Mirotic – New Orleans Pelicans ($6.2k)

Mirotic is way too cheap given his scoring role and upside. He showed how good he can be in his last game when he went off for 29 actual points and tonight he and his Pels are in a tense matchup with high DFS upside.

This is a lock for me, as Kevin Durant is the only true stud at SF. You’ll want to save if you can and Mirotic is that nice middle of the road play that could crush his current price tag.

SF: Josh Richardson – Miami Heat ($6.4k)

This is another small forward that feels way too cheap. J-Rich isn’t always a high upside guy, but the matchup against the Pistons is pretty good and he wrecked them (48 fantasy points) earlier this season.

Richardson gets plenty of run and is needed for scoring, but he also does a lot of other things. Those are the kinds of DFS options we want to target and he also saves us some cash in the process.

There is more value at SF if you’re willing to take on a little extra risk. Jae Crowder is coming off a huge game, Rudy Gay is back in San Antonio’s lineup and Jake Layman could enjoy nice run if Maurice Harkless sits tonight.

Update: Just as I hit publish I saw Richardson was questionable for tonight. I still think he’s a good play if he suits up, but that’s obviously cause for concern. You can consider other Miami players elsewhere if he’s ruled out, while Joe Ingles is a viable price-for-price alternative.

I’d be more interested in dropping down to Gay, Crowder or Layman, depending on what other news trickles out.

PF: Aaron Gordon – Orlando Magic ($7.2k)

Anthony Davis leads the way at power forward, but I’m not paying almost $14k for him. The spot is great, but I’d rather attack this game with other options from it and balance my squad out more.

Gordon is arguably too cheap given his versatility and upside. He’s also at home against the Nets, so he should have a real shot at a 50-burger. Most people will be eyeing Nikola Vucevic here, but you’re saving over $2k to get a very good play in the same exact spot.

PF: Rodions Kurucs – Brooklyn Nets ($4.4k)

This Nets vs. Magic game is a sneaky stack to consider, but I’m not going crazy here. I will take another body from this showdown, though, as Kurucs is starting and getting good run.

Kurucs is simply too cheap for the role he has right now and a date with the Magic doesn’t hurt his prospects, either.

Power forward is not a bad spot to pay up at both slots. Tobias Harris, Draymond Green and LaMarcus Aldridge all feel like steals on this slate. I can’t presently fit two of them in, but I’m certainly interested in doing so.

C: DeMarcus Cousins – Golden State Warriors ($4.6k)

This is my true punt play. Nikola Vucevic leads the way as the top overall center tonight, while the position is far from weak as a whole.

My favorite intermediate play is Julius Randle, but you could argue up to 8 really good plays here. I really want to fall in love with the idea of using Boogie in his Warriors debut, though, especially if there’s at all a chance he can push for 20 minutes.

Cousins is playing his first game in almost a year, so there is clearly concern with rust, team chemistry and actual minutes.

That will keep his ownership low, but let’s consider that the Clippers are terrible against centers, Golden State may want to feed him when he’s on the floor and he is fully capable of blowing up in 15-20 minutes of action.

If you don’t want to gamble on Boogie tonight, pay up to Randle or Vucevic. You can also consider pivoting to Ante Zizic ($4.2k), who could stand to get major run with both Tristan Thompson and Larry Nance out for tonight.


Curry is my top stud and in pairing him with Lillard, I have two elite options that can get me 50+ fantasy points if they come to play. They’re both at a position I’m devaluing tonight, too, while they also happen to be in fantastic NBA DFS game environments.

That could make them chalky, so obviously my other plays will need to both differentiate my roster and also pan out. Most of my NBA DFS picks around them are in good spots or offer way too much value. I do admit Boogie could be a risky play, but this is a GPP squad and if he can approach 20 minutes I think it’s worth a shot.

If we catch wind Boogie will be severely limited a la Dirk Nowitzki was when he first came back, he’s not an option. That would change things, but luckily there’s some value out there already and you can move things around if need be.

I understand that some people may want to pay up at center and/or force Anthony Davis in. If that’s the case, just move things around until it makes sense for you.

This lineup gets pushed out early in the day to help everyone get their process started, so be sure to stay on top of player news and adjust accordingly. Please don’t just blindly slide this team into GPPs if major news has changed things. Use the lineup as a starting point and if guys are scratched or amazing value opens up, consider altering as needed.

As things stand, however, I love this roster and think it’s got a good shot at competing in FanDuel tourneys. Whether you use it or not, I wish you luck. Thanks for stopping by and enjoy the games!